An arrest on someone’s criminal record may have long-lasting consequences. Criminal charges may result in a loss of employment, difficulty applying for certain degree programs, and, of course, a tainted reputation in the community. Though being arrested is a scary experience, it is possible to have criminal charges reduced or dismissed. An individual will only cause more trouble—and additional charges—if that individual tries to evade arrest.
What is evading arrest?
Evading arrest is a crime in Texas. The statute is specifically called “evading arrest or detention” and is laid out in Texas Penal Code Section 38.04.
An individual may be convicted of evading arrest or detention if that person intentionally flees from someone known to be a police officer or federal investigator while the officer or investigator is trying to detain or arrest the person.
The burden of proof is on the state of Texas in criminal cases. This means that prosecutors must prove that the facts support each element of the crime. If the facts do not support the charges against the offender, the charges must be reduced or dismissed.
Defenses to evading arrest or detention charges
The state must prove that the offender had the specific intent to escape the arrest or detention. Perhaps the accused was being followed by a police officer on a dark highway and wanted to pull over in a well-lit area. The accused did not intend to evade arrest or detention; rather, the accused wanted to pull over in a safer area.
In many cases, the individual accused of evading arrest may not have realized that he or she was in the presence of a member of law enforcement. For example, perhaps a plain-clothes police officer ran toward the accused, and the accused did not hear the officer say he was an officer. In this situation, the accused did not intend to evade arrest.
Penalties for evading arrest or detention charges
Generally, evading arrest or detention is a class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors may result in up to a year in jail. In addition, fines of up to $4,000 may also be ordered.
However, penalties become more severe in certain circumstances.
If the offender has a prior conviction for evading arrest or detention, or if the offender used a motor vehicle or watercraft while evading, the crime is a state jail felony. State jail felonies carry sentences of between 180 days and 2 years in jail plus a fine of up to $10,000.
The crime is a third degree felony if the offender uses a motor vehicle or watercraft and has a previous conviction for evading arrest or detention. The crime is also a third degree felony if another individual is seriously injured while law enforcement attempts to arrest or detain the offender.
Third degree felonies carry prison sentences of between 2 to 10 years and fines of up to $10,000.
Evading arrest or detention is a second degree felony if another individual is killed as law enforcement attempts to arrest or detain the offender.
Second degree felonies are punishable by a sentence of between 2 and 20 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
With an experienced criminal defense attorney, you will be able to raise any defenses possible in your case.
Call the Hampton Eppes Law Group to discuss your charges
Brian Eppes is a former prosecutor who understands the details of the Texas criminal justice system. Mr. Eppes is dedicated to protecting his clients’ rights. To schedule a free consultation, call 817-877-5201 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.